UPDATE! Rian Johnson Talks About Writing Star Wars: Episode 8 and the Filming Schedule. Full Interview (Part 1&2).

Episode VIIITheTalkhouse.com released a podcast interview on Thursday wherein Rian Johnson speaks with Terry Gilliam about his new film The Zero Theorem. But, obviously, that is not all the two directors spoke about. Find out what Johnson had to say about his Star Wars experience thus far, as well as the state of Episode VIII after the jump.


“The Talkhouse Film Podcast” features Rian Johnson interviewing Terry Gilliam for his new movie. Gilliam is known for directing such movies as Brazil, The Fisher King, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and The Brothers Grimm. His new film The Zero Theorem is the impetus of the interview by Rian Johnson of Brick and Looper fame, and who, of course, is currently working on Star Wars: Episode VIII.


The discussion begins with Johnson’s complimenting Gilliam for his body of work, notably Brazil, which is a movie about the pervasiveness of technology and the loss of individual freedom. The conversation segue’s into today’s climate of information overload and specifically Johnson’s “addiction to Twitter” and the difficulty in today’s short attention-span society to be able to pay attention to a movie.  Eventually, toward the end of Part I, Gilliam sets Johnson up perfectly with the question. “Do you have a new project?” To which Johnson responds:

 “Uh, yeah, you know I’m doing a Star Wars movie. I’m doing the next Star Wars movie.”




Here are some more of the Star Wars highlights:

Johnson, “I’m writing it and directing it — the next one after the one JJ is doing.”


Gilliam then asks, “What does it feel like when you take over somebody else’s world?” Johnson struggled to put the answer into words and wouldn’t you if you were in his shoes?

Johnson, “Well, you know, its, its been – I’m just starting into it. I’m mean so far its been nothing but, God, I mean honestly its the most fun I’ve ever had writing. Its just joyous. But also for me personally I grew up not just watching those movies, but playing with those toys, so as a little kid the first movies I was making in my head were set in this world. So, um, a big part of it is, um, that kind of direct connection. Its almost like an automatic jacking-in, back into childhood in a weird way. But I don’t know, ask me again in a few years, we’ll talk about it.”


Rian Johnson, not to mention JJ Abrams, Gareth Edwards, and Josh Trank, are those lucky ones who dreamt as kids of living in the galaxy far, far away and now they are the chosen ones to bring it to to the world and introduce it to a new generation. The reverence and joy were obvious in Johnson’s voice. Gilliam then asks what his response to Star Wars would be if he saw it first on an I Pad to which Johnson replied we’d have to find out in thirty years what the affect of that is. Then Gilliam asked him, “Is George looking over your shoulder?”

Johnson, “No, no, no, not at all! Because he sold the company to Disney. So he’s kind of stepped back and Kathy Kennedy is running LucasFilm…”


Gilliam, “Do you feel a different responsibility because it is Star Wars, or are you free?”


Johnson, “I’m figuring it out as I go. I’m dancing on top of the avalanche a little bit. So I’ll have more perspective in a while but it’s a balance of remembering what inspires you about it [the original films], but you can probably go to the wrong place by feeling too responsible to it. You have to keep your head loose enough to tell a story you actually care about […] Well, that’s been the great thing about it — Kathleen and her whole creative team have been so insistent on all the filmmakers they’ve been hiring for these new movies: ‘We want you to take it and turn it into something that you really care about.’ And we’ll see how the process plays out, but so far, that’s a big part of the reason I’m in it. Because that just seems like their attitude towards it. It’s really exciting actually.”


The Master

Gilliam, “Please bring Frank Oz back!”


Johnson, “You kidding? How could you not. How could you not!”


Well, we don’t know if Johnson was just joking, but he then went on to offer Gilliam a role as a Hutt. Then they discussed the differences between the Yoda puppet and the CGI version. You can visit our friends at /Film to read a pretty accurate transcript of Part 1. However, they didn’t seem to listen to Part 2 which is also available at theTalkhouse.com So we present the brief, but telling, Star Wars highlights of Part 2 of the Johnson/Gilliam conversation.


At about the five minute and forty second mark of Part 2 Gilliam asks Johnson about Star Wars again, “When you start shooting do you have a plan yet?”

Johnson, “Oh there’s a plan! There’s a plan! They have release dates for the next, you know, however many movies. Yeah it’s, uh, we start shooting, um, yeah, it’s not for a while, it’s not like for another year or so. Um, but I need to write the script. I’m just starting right now writing. I feel I’m going to need all that time probably.”


Gilliam, “Will you be coming to London to shoot?”


Johnson, “Yeah we’ll be shooting at Pinewood.”


So there you have the latest news about Star Wars: Episode VIII straight from the horse’s mouth so to speak. Here are the bullet points:

* The script hasn’t been written and in fact Johnson is just now starting to work on it.


* The new directors have a mandate to make Star Wars passionate for themselves


* Johnson confirmed that filming doesn’t begin until 2015


* And as we already know, filming will be done in London’s Pinewood Studios as well as the first spinoff as George Osborne Tweeted a while back:


If you have the time you should listen to the interview for yourselves as it is fascinating for movie fans in general and not just us die-hard Star Wars fanatics.


 PART 1:







A small update with an interesting comment by Viral Hide in The Cantina. Check it out HERE.


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36 thoughts on “UPDATE! Rian Johnson Talks About Writing Star Wars: Episode 8 and the Filming Schedule. Full Interview (Part 1&2).

  • September 19, 2014 at 4:36 pm

    I just hope when all is said and done the Sequel Trilogy is as cohesive and enjoyable as the OT. My fear is that there are to many cooks in the kitchen. However I’m sure that probably won’t happen Rian Johnson is probably on set and going over what JJ is doing. Empire and Jedi work as sequels to Star Wars and they had different writers and directors, hopefully this is the case here.

    • September 19, 2014 at 8:05 pm

      With ep IV Lucas had almost no idea what would happen with the series. Ep V – VI had separate directors and they got together and established a gameplan, with Kasdan overseeing the scripts in general. Don’t know about you, but it seems to me the Ep VII is picking up where the original team left off, complete with Kasdan to reign it in. Not bad,

      • September 19, 2014 at 9:39 pm

        I’m sure they have a game plan and i’m sure everything will come together in the end. What i find curious is that Ep. VII is written by both JJ and Kasdan but Ep VIII is only being written by Rian Johnson himself. I just meant that seems odd that different people are creating these movie instead of one or two writers working on the story as a whole like what Lucas and Kasdan did for the OT. One would think that one voice would be better then ten or twelve different voices all speaking at once.

        I do wonder if JJ is executive producing the other episodes beyond Ep VII and that the other director follow his lead while still keeping it set in the Star Wars Universe that we all know and love. If ever new writer and director want to do their own thing with this story it could (if not check) get complicated.

        • September 19, 2014 at 11:16 pm

          Johnson’s script will no doubt be picked over and polished with a co-writer added at some point in the process – maybe Kasdan. They are probably just giving Johnson first shot at outlining his story in line with his directorial vision for now. JJ staying on as exec producer would be a good call.

          • September 19, 2014 at 11:22 pm

            Rian Johnson makes pretty good movie Looper and Brick were great. So I have high hopes he can make this trilogies “Empire Strikes Back” In terms of getting inside the characters and creating situations they have to overcome.

  • September 19, 2014 at 4:53 pm

    Though when he said the film after jj I thought he meant spin off…

    I hear the spin off film is a darth vader spin off (set directly after the Death Star run in episode 4 – he spends the whole film in his tie advance – spinning off).

    • September 19, 2014 at 9:43 pm

      “Oh, God! You must smell like feet wrapped in leathery burnt bacon!”

  • September 19, 2014 at 5:32 pm

    If the script isn’t up to standard, though, they’ll bring in another writer. But then sometimes something gets lost, the more people that are involved in the writing process. How often is a meeting held to review what he’s written, I wonder.

    • September 19, 2014 at 7:11 pm

      There’s an awesome comic that shows vader falling into a wild planet right after the death star exploded. You see him on his own surviving the animals and the weather in the badassest way. I hope that, if true, they use some
      of that stuff. They still owe us a vader truly pushed to the limita.

      • September 19, 2014 at 8:11 pm

        Vader Of The Apes! Or Robinson Vader. Or Alien v Vader.

  • September 19, 2014 at 5:44 pm

    I’d be surprised if they shoot EP 8 in 2015.

    The movie is scheduled for a December 2017 release, so they probably shoot in May 2016 like JJ did with EP 7.

    • September 19, 2014 at 6:55 pm

      I’m so glad they’re having all these meetings, getting all the writers and directors together and planning out the movies well in advance.

      Wouldn’t want Daisy kissing her brother. 0_o

    • September 20, 2014 at 4:33 am

      Have they confirmed Dec. 2017? I don’t remember hearing that. Maybe they have and I missed it. If not, they could start filming in mid to late ’15 and have a May 2017 release. May hasn’t been counted out just yet.

      • September 20, 2014 at 5:23 am

        The plan was to release EP 8 during December 2017. But Alan Horn said they could make the films sooner depending on the readiness of the scripts.

        • September 20, 2014 at 8:36 am

          Alan Horn don’t give a sh*t about the quality of this movies. Selfies with Chewie and bullsh*t, but when it comes to art he’s a damn obstacle.

          • September 20, 2014 at 7:00 pm

            It was Bob Iger who posed with Chewie. Alan Horn ran Warner Bros. during its peak run with Batman and Harry Potter. So I would say Horn knows how to greenlight and market successful films.

          • September 20, 2014 at 10:07 pm

            Oh you’re so right. Excuse me. I was indeed insulting Bob Iger.

  • September 19, 2014 at 9:42 pm

    What did they say about CGI Yoda?

    • September 19, 2014 at 10:50 pm

      That it sucked.

      • September 20, 2014 at 12:27 am

        Good, that’s what I thought!

  • September 19, 2014 at 11:00 pm

    This should dispel any further talk that Michael Arndt had simply moved on to Ep8. Looks like Lucas’s outlines have been completely torched.

    • September 19, 2014 at 11:45 pm

      Who’s to say that Michael Ardnt’s work isn’t partially in the script that they’re working on now, and who’s to say that they aren’t drawing influence from George Lucas’s outline for the trilogy (which he is still credited for)?

    • September 20, 2014 at 1:24 am

      Sorry mods—I accidentally clicked “report comment.” Apologies.

      • September 20, 2014 at 2:06 am

        Not a problem – thanks for letting us know.

    • September 20, 2014 at 1:26 am

      Why on Earth would you think Lucas’ outline is out the door? There’s nothing to indicate that.

    • September 20, 2014 at 3:23 am

      Keep in mind the outline was probably written when Lucas was still good at writing stories… these outlines were written during the OT time period, and was vouched for it’s awesomeness. The outlines are very vague too, I think only something like 7 pages for a whole trilogy?

  • September 19, 2014 at 11:21 pm

    So I guess I should buy the Looper Blu ray then..

    • September 20, 2014 at 3:19 am

      It’s awesome, I bought it. Lent it to someone who I don’t think I’ll ever see again… so I may repurchase because I liked it that much… fantastic film!

  • September 20, 2014 at 12:04 am

    Having a mandate for each director to be passionate about their approach to Star Wars is such an excellent idea. Kathleen Kennedy is now my spirit animal. No matter how these films turn out, Kennedy has done all someone can to build a sturdy house for the ficle muses.

  • September 20, 2014 at 1:18 am

    Rian Johnson is an excellent choice for SW8. I wonder who will do 9?

  • September 20, 2014 at 2:39 am

    What if somehow Ep. VIII was as good as Empire??

    • September 20, 2014 at 6:15 am

      And episode VII as good as A New Hope 🙂

      • September 20, 2014 at 11:25 am

        They are not going to have the same cultural impact as the OT, there is no way. Having said that, they still could be really freakin’ good and do really freakin’ well.

        • September 20, 2014 at 2:47 pm

          I think that’s what they mean; better made movies rather than more culturally impactful.

  • September 20, 2014 at 4:18 pm

    I absolutely loved everything I just read. What’s not to like? I love the freedom Lucasfilm is giving them. We will really see a wide range of Star Wars if this turns out to be true.

    As far as I’m concerned all news regarding the future movies has been awesome.

    I think we may be in for a Star Wars renaissance!

  • September 20, 2014 at 6:45 pm

    I noticed this was glossed over on this sight’s article… just like CGI Yoda was in this one:

    “On CGI C-3PO: “[During the prequels] the only time [Threepio has] been CG was when it was very dangerous [to act in the scene in a suit] — and it wasn’t very good. In fact, I’m going to say it was awful. One of the difficulties is with a character that you know and love so well is that, as a member of the audience, you go, ‘Oh no, that’s not right. No, he doesn’t move like that.’ With me [in the suit], he’s always going to move the same way and have the same reactions, timing, and so on. With CG, you’re working with some brilliant person on the keyboard who is trying to pretend to be me. In a cartoon series like ‘Rebels,’ you accept it because it’s not trying to pretend to be reality. It’s an extension, it’s an exaggeration. On that basis, it’s utterly acceptable — providing the characterization is correct.”
    Read more at http://www.hitfix.com/news/anthony-c-3po-daniels-on-star-wars-episode-7-awful-prequel-cg-and-pesky-ewoks#hZuH6TB12TDVFl1F.99

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